Updated: Jan 29
If you're like me, you get ads about fly fishing stuff regularly. You are a part of so many different fly fishing groups on social media that you see all kinds of different brands of fly rods and reels. While you aren't wealthy enough to own all of them, you always wonder what they are like...
My friend Brandon and I were curious about the brand Allen Fly Fishing. Allen sells a variety of clothing, fly tying supplies, and equipment in the fly fishing industry, and while I had heard some firsthand reviews of their reels, I never knew anyone who owned their rods. Conveniently, Allen often has "Buy one, get one" sales on their fly rods. Whether that is because they are overpriced originally or they are just trying to push inventory, I'm not sure. But regardless, Brandon and I decided to go halfsies on the rods and each get one.
Now, after being an owner of an Allen Volant 8-weight, 9 foot fly rod for over two years, here is my review.
Initial thoughts: 9 foot 8-weight volant
It is always nice when a rod manufacturer throws in a rod tube and rod sock with the purchase. Allen did this with the Volant rod, and the rod tube and rod sock are comparable to other rod tube and rod socks that are included with rod purchases.
It is worth noting that there is no information about being "made in the USA" - digest that as you may.
When first pulling the rod out of the its protective layers, my first thought was something like: "Wow, I didn't know the color red was so... red."
Maybe it is because most fly rods on the market are a dark color, having a bright color of rod is initially a bit of a shock on the eyes. With that being said, the initial surprise does fade, and the color even starts to grow on you a bit.
The Volant has a slightly heavier listed weight than some other 8 weight rods on the market. Allen has this to say about that:
"Our weights may appear to be heavier than other manufacturers, but this is because we have chosen to give the weight of the rod as it arrives to you. This is not how many other brands classify their weights."
I am not enough of an expert in rod manufacturing to know how "many other brands classify their weights," so feel free to fill me in if you have expertise in this field.
The four-piece design is a common fly rod design. It is always nice to have the little dots on the end of each rod section to align the rod correctly, which the Volant has.
My 8-weight Volant has the full wells grip, which has a unique (but nice) contrast in color near the top. It also has a fighting butt in the 6-12 weight models.
I have one other 8-weight rod and it had a similar price point. The Volant seems slightly heavier to me, but I haven't weighed them to be sure. Regardless, the first impression casting the Volant is that it felt a little stiff. For someone wanting to fish delicate presentations and light lines, this may be a discouragement. If fishing in wind or fishing heavier flies, this is a fantastic reason to use a rod like the Volant.
I fished this rod hard in the past two years. In fact, it has become one of my favorite streamer rods. I have thrown all kinds of lines- intermediate, sink tip, full sink, full float, shooting head, integrated skagit- with success. It has performed well when paired with fly lines that have a heavier head to accommodate larger flies.
I have used this rod (9 foot, 8-weight) euro-nymphing, as well. Granted, the flies I use euro-nymphing in Iowa are a bit different than traditional euro-nymphing patterns (they are much heavier); but the rod still seemed to perform well.
In Iowa, we often run into large fish, including common carp, bigmouth, and smallmouth buffalo. Fighting fish anywhere up to 15 pounds hasn't been an issue at all with this rod. In fact, I've almost wanted to downsize to a 7-weight Volant because the 8-weight Volant has handled large fish with such ease.
While I've never fished anything other than the 8-weight Volant, my friend Brandon said that his 9 foot, 5-weight Volant "works really well as a small streamer rod and fishing bigger dries from a boat." He did mention that the 5-weight Volant was a little bit stiff for small stream trout fishing.
One feature of the rod I would like to see improved is the effectiveness of the reel-locking screws attached to the reel seat. There are three pieces - the joint that slides over the foot of the reel, the first locking screw, and the second locking screw. You would think this would be enough to secure the reel firmly to the reel seat; yet it takes some painstaking attention to detail in order to secure the reel to the reel seat without it coming loose over time. This shouldn't be an issue with two locking screws, but it is. I've owned the rod long enough now that I've worked through the kinks and generally can get it to stay secure, but it isn't as simple as it should be.
I have not tested this reel in the salt or on saltwater fish. It is a good idea to thoroughly rinse your rod and its components to keep it safe from corrosion.
Allen Fly Fishing's Volant series has a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects. They will repair the rod if damaged by normal use for a service fee.
The Volant is a unique, prominent, and sturdy fly rod that, in my opinion, is a fantastic rod for streamer fishing and fishing sinking fly lines.
Based on my experience with the 9 foot, 8- weight rod, I suspect the 10 foot, 4 weight version of this rod could be a viable option for euro-nymphing, especially heavier euro-nymph setups.
Since its design is on the sturdier side, the Volant makes a killer rod for fishing in windy conditions and/or for sizeable fish. If you're a self-proclaimed "streamer-junkie", maybe you should give the Volant a try.